In a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice, a record $5.69 billion was recovered under the False Claims Act in fiscal year 2014. This is the highest amount ever recorded and includes all settlements and verdicts across all industries. The vast majority of these recoveries involved financial or healthcare fraud, as $3.1 billion was recovered from financial institutions and $2.3 billion was recovered from those committing Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Acting Associate Attorney General Delery said in a statement, “In the past three years, we have achieved the three largest annual recoveries ever recorded under the statute. This sustained success demonstrates that these figures result not only from large individual matters, but from a continuous commitment year after year to pursue those who defraud taxpayers and to remain vigilant in identifying those who would unlawfully obtain money from the federal fisc.”
Likewise, Acting Associate Attorney General Branda commented, “It has been an extraordinary year for civil fraud recoveries, but the true significance is not in breaking records or making history; it is in the billions of dollars restored to the federal treasury….The False Claims Act was enacted both to protect vital taxpayer dollars and deter those who would misuse public funds. The department will continue to enforce the law aggressively to ensure the integrity of government programs designed to keep us safer, healthier, and economically more prosperous.”
68 New False Claims Act Cases Unsealed, Revealing Interesting Trends
Twenty-eight years ago, the False Claims Act was fortified to provide greater incentives for whistleblowers to come forward with allegations of fraud. Since then, the statute has proven exceptionally helpful in recouping money unlawfully withheld from taxpayers due to deceitful waste.
Procedurally, a complaint filed under the False Claims Act is kept under seal until the government either decides or declines to intervene in the matter. The confidentiality of False Claims Act filings is integral to deterring frivolous copycat filings and helps ensure the relator is protected from retaliation from his or her employer.
Sixty-eight new cases were recently unsealed, revealing interesting patterns, including:
-53 of the 68 cases were filed in 2012 or later. However, one unsealed case was filed in 2007 and has yet to be resolved.
-The government opted to intervene in 31 percent of the cases, which is slightly higher than average.
-70 percent of the plaintiffs were blowing the whistle on their employer.
-Over 50 percent of the healthcare fraud cases involved concurrent state and federal claims.
Considering a False Claims Act Lawsuit? Contact Berger & Montague, P.C. Today
If you are aware of fraud involving government (i.e., taxpayer) money, we encourage you to contact our office right away. We will ensure your claim is filed confidentially. For more information about the process, or to speak with a reputable whistleblower attorney, give us a call today.